As sub-zero overnight temperatures are forecast for Oxfordshire over the next few days, Oxford City Council has activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) for rough sleepers.
This means that the council and local homelessness organisations will make extra bed spaces available for rough sleepers in the city tonight and tomorrow night, when the overnight temperature is forecast to be below zero.
When SWEP is activated, emergency accommodation is available for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping rough on the night – even if they would not usually be eligible for the city’s adult homeless pathway.
The council operates SWEP under guidance from Homeless Link, and in consultation with key local partners St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire (formerly Oxford Homeless Pathways).
SWEP opens on the first night of a period when the Met Office forecasts the temperature will fall to zero or below on three or more consecutive nights. It can also open on a discretionary basis during other adverse weather conditions. SWEP was activated on Christmas Eve.
The council has alerted The Porch, A2Dominion and other providers that work alongside St Mungo’s and Homeless Oxfordshire that SWEP has been activated.
The Oxford Street Population Outreach Team (Oxford SPOT), which is run by St Mungo’s and based at Homeless Oxfordshire’s O’Hanlon House, will tell potential rough sleepers that SWEP beds will be made available tonight and Thursday night in the first instance.
Oxford SPOT will offer support to eligible rough sleepers to find longer term accommodation.